Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome Friday Friend Kaylea Cross

Friday January 28, 2011

I’m Kaylea Cross, and I write military romantic suspense. Absolution is the fifth and final book in my award-winning series with The Wild Rose Press, and I’m so sad that the series is finished. I miss the characters so much! I do have another series coming up with Carina Press, the first book of which will release this summer, but Absolution holds a very special place in my heart.

The hero in this book, Luke Hutchinson, is far and away my favorite character of all. He came into my head so clearly the very first time I wrote him into a scene in book one (Out of Her League), I swear I could almost touch him. Through the series he’s been the driving force behind the sweeping military story arc, and at last here I got to pit him one on one against the lethal terrorist he created...Farouk Tehrazzi.

Research for this book was very interesting. For Luke’s character way back when I started the series, I read a biography about a Navy SEAL that served in Beirut during the civil war there, and learned a lot about why the political situation is the way it is in Lebanon. Later I also read books about tracking al-Qaeda through the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan, and the CIA’s efforts (including their covert paramilitary officers) to defeat the Taliban in the early stages of the war with the Northern Alliance. Lots of very interesting and pertinent information.
And then there’s my heroine, Emily. Luke’s ex-wife. She’s been through hell and back. Only fifty years old, she’s already fighting breast cancer for the second time. For her story I did research on breast cancer, treatments, and then interviewed a few breast cancer patients to find out what it’s really like to battle the disease. The statistics are shocking, and there are very few of us who won’t be touched by the disease either personally or through a loved one or acquaintance in our lifetimes.

Both these characters have been through the ringer, and I wanted to make sure I did Emily and Luke justice in their book. It’s a love story, a military story, and while it has a happy ending I didn’t want to sugar coat the issues Emily faces in her future. It’s a wrenching story full of love, fear, danger and hope. I hope you enjoy it!

I’m giving away a digital copy to one commenter. To enter, leave me a comment about special ops or breast cancer and I’ll choose the winner at the end of the weekend. Make sure you include your e-mail so I can contact you. Don’t worry, I won’t put you on my mailing list unless you ask me to .

Happy reading!
Kaylea Cross

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Are you Waiting?

Cursor… Cursor…

Why are you waiting?

Life can change in the passing of a second.

If there is something you truly long to do, why are you waiting? For a better time?

Here is an old adage. There is no time like the present. It’s so true.

Here’s another. Time waits for no man. Also true.

Are you waiting because of financial reasons?

Understandable, but do you have a plan and are you taking steps to do the thing that your heart longs to do?

If yes, great. If not, why not?

Could it be because want you thought you wanted more than anything else in the world really isn’t want you desire? Recognizing that is important because to know your real desire you must clear away all the fluff clouding your vision.

Answer this question. If tomorrow was your day of passing and you looked back on your life, how would you complete this sentence? If only I had__________.

Did you answer without thought?

Only you can know your heart.

So why are you waiting?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome Friday Friend Rachael Brimble

Welcome to my blog. I'm posting my Friday Friend a little early, due to circumstances beyond my control. I hope you take a few moments to look around and read a few of my past posts and check up several of my Friday Friends.

Today, I've invited back Rachael Brimble. She'll be answering questions through the weekend. I love her new cover as well as her work. Please say hi to Rachael.

Working with Editors – I love it!

In January 2007, after two lots of revisions The Wild Rose Press emailed that they wanted to buy my first novel, ‘Searching For Sophie’. I was beyond happy, I was literally comatose! I must have read the email at least ten times before I managed to walk into the living room to tell my husband.

He freaked out as much as me!

So with the pair of us dancing around the living room, the kids laughing and the dog barking, I thought this is it…the hard part is done, my first book has been accepted and so will the second and the third and the fourth, I’ll get an agent and the money will pour in. PLEASE stop laughing at me, what did I know??

Anyhoo…I wised up pretty darn quick, starting with editing. Editing, editing, editing. Do you love it or hate it? I personally LOVE it. At first. But by round four plus the galley, I am ready to scream. But then you get to see your cover art, your book is out there and people are actually buying it, yeeehaa!!

Another four books later and I go through the same emotions with every book – and I pray I can keep doing this forever. I love writing. It’s all I want to do, all of the time. Ahem, much to my family’s often total neglect!

Over the last few weeks I have had two aspiring writers ask me the same question – what does an editor do? Not in the technical sense, but how do they actual help you develop as a writer as well as working flat out to make your latest work shine?

In the last three years I have worked with six different editors and each of them has taught me a valuable lesson. Six different lessons have made me six times a stronger writer, surely? Here they are:

Editor 1 – Self-belief and the importance of character motivation
Editor 2 – Redundant words (that, also, even, little, so, just) – get rid of ‘em!
Editor 3 - Dig deeper, there is always more to reveal about your hero & heroine
Editor 4 – That I could write historicals, yay! And the importance of layering the conflict into your story, a little bit at a time to keep the tension high
Editor 5 – The dreaded passive point of view (I sometimes still slip, it’s an ongoing process, people!)
Editor 6 – Repetition - Watch those favourite buzz words or phrases!

There is so much more but these are the bullet points that leap to mind when I think of each editor I have worked with – they have all been amazing in very different ways. Three cheers for our editors! Hip hip…

My latest release is with Lyrical Press, a contemporary romance called ‘Getting It Right This Time’ (edited by fabulous editor number six!)


She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.

Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?

Buy Link:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mystery or Suspense

When I began to write romantic suspense, I tossed out several reams of paper. Why? Because no matter how I tried I couldn’t keep my villain hidden. He kept voicing his POV and writing his own chapters. I nearly ripped my hair out by the roots fighting with him to stay silent. Then I read a wonderful book, How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. Ms.Wheat set me straight and confirmed what my villain was telling me all along.

Is there a Who-dun-it in suspense? Of course there is. It’s when the villain will be revealed that makes the two different, among a few other elements. In a mystery, an act of violence begins the story, but most times the action is set off stage. The reader is invited into the dilemma and introduced to an already seasoned hero who solves the crime logically and through scientific methods. There is a small circle of suspects, clues and red herrings. Information is withheld from the reader and the said reader is kept in the dark two steps behind. The hero grows very little during the story. The story is all about who killed X? The villain is not exposed until the last scene and the end result for the reader is an intellectual satisfaction.

A suspense novel starts on even keel, showing the everyday life our hero or heroine. Then BAM a nightmare occurs. The hero and/or heroine are not necessarily seasonedinvestigators. This is where your character arc comes in to play. The hero and/or heroine will grow throughout the story.

Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:
Stephanie masked her sigh of exertion while lifting the Coleman cooler she’d borrowed for their trip. She lugged the container to her old SUV. She knew how her son felt. She wished she had the money to take them away on exciting excursions like their friends had this summer. To places like Disney World, but she couldn’t even afford a day trip to Hershey Park, America’s chocolate capital. Em’s special diet, because of her allergies, took up a third of her take-home pay. After paying the mortgage, utilities, car insurance and miscellaneous expenses, she was lucky to save a few dollars a week.

She chewed on her bottom lip. Hopefully, next week Bobby and his friends would be off on new adventures, their summer vacations a distant memory.
The howl of a diesel engine jerked Stephanie from her musing. The squeal of brakes, crushing metal and shattering glass made her spin around.

Other basics of a suspense: All action is on stage. The protagonists’ world expansions. There are surprises. The villain can be revealed to the reader immediately and he or she can have a POV.
Yeah! This made my villain happy.
Information is given to the reader but withheld from the heroes. In other words, we know what could happen if the wrong path is taken by our hero or heroine. The reader sits on the edge of her seat, screaming at the heroine and hero not to go there.

Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:

“I don’t want to kill no kids, Victor.” Mac danced in place ready to dodge Victor’s wrath.
“You will do as I say,” Victor snapped.
She looked at the dead driver. His lifeless stare pleaded to her for justice.
“Don’t trust her,” Sheriff Morse ordered, turning his gun on her.
Stephanie refused to flinch under Morse’s scrutiny.
Gene moved in front of her. “Frank, what the hell are you doing? You’ve known
Stephanie all her life.”
“There is too much at stake, Gene. She saw me kill that guy. I’m not going to jail.” Morse’s tongue skimmed his lips. “Why the hell are you trying to protect her anyway? You two have been fightin’ like junkyard dogs for years. You complain every day she’s milking you dry. This is your chance to be rid of your mistakes.”
“Steph was never a mistake to me,” Gene’s voice rose in response. Then it softened. “I was hers.”
Tears threatened to blur her vision and she blinked them away. She squeezed Gene’s arm and glanced at her ex-husband’s profile. He remained focused.
“Touching,” Victor said. “But, sorry, no. They must die here.”
The suspense story is all about the hero or heroine prevailing. Emotional satisfaction is what the reader gets from a suspense novel. And since I write romantic suspense, ever lasting love must also be found.
Excerpt from Evil’s Witness:
After a week, her touch was familiar. His heart melted. He grabbed her hand, holding her in place as he turned and smiled down on her. Her nipples pushed against her white T-shirt. He gently brushed a knuckle across one peak. “No. It was hell without you.”
“Mmmm. Same here.” She pulled back and lifted his arm around her, curling into him. Looking out over the lake, she sighed. “I could stay here forever, if you’d let me.”
“I wish we could.” He gathered her closer and kissed the top of her head. “But eventually Bobby and Em would have to go to school.”
“I could home school.” Her chuckle was strained.
He felt her pain. He smiled while his heart wrenched. He would like nothing more than to forget about the world and stay here with her and the kids. But they couldn’t. “Sooner or later Ben will call. We’ll have to go back.”
“I know.”
Steph moved away. A cold void took her place.
She drifted to the other porch column. Leaning against it, she folded her arms across her chest. Her lips pressed together as if she was forming the right words behind them. “I know I said that our time together here was going to be enough to last me a lifetime, but—” Tears brimmed her lids. “I was wrong. A lifetime won’t be enough.”
John stepped toward her. “I don’t know what—”
“I know, you don’t know how we can be together. So, Ben will call. We’ll go back, and I’ll identify Victor. You’ll toss him in jail and throw away the key. You’ll drive off in pursuit of the next bad guy and me…Well, I’ll go home and wonder where you are. Wonder if what I felt was love.”
The woman knew how to make a guy feel like a heel.
John pulled her into his arms. She buried her head in his chest and cried softly against him. He kissed her head and smoothed her hair. “Steph, I didn’t think I’d ever love again,” he whispered softly, cupping her chin and tilting her face up until she looked at him. “Like a bomb, you dropped into my life. Every defense I’d put up to protect myself from ever being hurt again came tumbling down. You opened up my heart. As much as you don’t want to live without me, I don’t want to live without you. I love you.”
He kissed her gently. Her arms wrapped around him and held on. “Somehow, we’ll figure this out. I promise.”

Visit for more info on Evil's Witness and my other books.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome Friday Friend Cara Marsi

January 7, 2011

I met Cara in Washington D.C. during the RWA National convention and immediately knew I found a new friend. She is such a treasure, and I'm so very happy to have her visiting me today. Please welcome her.


Write what you know, they say. Does that mean you should only write about the town where you live? Of course not. Talented writers can make historical eras from several hundred, or several thousand, years ago seem real. With good research, writers can tell a believable tale about places they’ve never been. However, when you write about a place you’ve visited, your knowledge lends a certain authenticity to your story. Not to mention the fun of revisiting memories of a treasured vacation. Or going to a cool place to do research for your story.

Murder, Mi Amore, my just-released romantic suspense novella from The Wild Rose Press, is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy, a place I visited in 2006. We all know Italy is beautiful, filled with art, history, great food, and beautiful men and women. But every city has an underbelly. I used my imagination to interject this dark side onto the touristy Italy I visited.

All four of my grandparents came from Italy, from the province of Abruzzo. So I have more than a passing interest in the country. I visited Italy with my family for the first time when I was twenty years old, more than a few years ago.

My trip to Italy in 2006 was the inspiration for Murder, Mi Amore. My husband and I traveled to Rome alone. We spent a few days touring the city, then took a train to Abruzzo to meet up with a tour led by my Australian cousin Luciana. Luciana’s company specializes in trips to Abruzzo.

When we were on our own in Rome, my husband and I got lost a lot. We tend to do that. Thanks to the kindness of Italians who spoke English, we always found our way. But it made for a few adventures. None of our adventures were as exciting and dangerous as the ones I put my heroine Lexie through though.

Rome was bustling as always in June, especially with World Cup fever all around. We stayed at a hotel on one of the most popular and crowded streets, Via Corsi. Trevi Fountain was a short walk away. The Pantheon was around the corner. And so was an amazing gelato shop where we bought too many luscious gelatos, the Italian ice cream. Yum. Kiwi Melon was my favorite. There was also a little shop that sold whimsical clocks. We bought two clocks there. I mention the gelato shop and the clocks in my story. Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon also figure prominently.

In Murder, Mi Amore, the hotel on the Via Corsi where Lexie stays is the one where we stayed. I don’t use the actual name, of course. I remember well how I felt as I shouldered my way through the throngs of tourists and natives on Via Corsi. I use these feelings to describe Lexie as she makes her way on this same street after she buys the handbag that starts her adventure with jewel thieves, terrorists, murder, and a mysterious hunky Italian named Dominic.

As I wrote about Lexie and Dominic meeting for the first time at Trevi Fountain, I could hear the chattering of the crowds and the snap of cameras and feel the sun’s heat. I could almost taste the wine Lexie orders. When you see pictures of this iconic fountain, it looks as if it’s in the middle of a very wide street. Nope. It’s set at the end of a very narrow cobblestoned street.

Every scene and location in Murder, Mi Amore is authentic. When Lexie is dragged through dark and narrow streets by her would-be kidnapper, I pictured the little alleyways dotting Rome.

There’s one chapter set in the small town of Ripa Teatina, in Abruzzo. This is the town my paternal grandparents came from. My husband and I traveled that same mountainous road between Rome and Abruzzo that Dominic and Lexie traversed. We weren’t chased by someone trying to kill us, as my characters were, but as I wrote the scene I pictured the mountains in the distance and the lush vegetation.

The food we had all through Italy was exquisite. I tried to convey some of that in my story. Outdoor cafes are as ubiquitous as the motor scooters in Rome. I got a charge out of the young women, dressed in flowing skirts and wearing stilettos and helmets, and flying through the streets on their scooters. I include a couple of near misses with scooters in my story.

My novella ends in Las Vegas, where Lexie lives. My son lives there also. I tied in the real Trevi in Rome to the fake one at Caesar’s in Vegas, and put Lexie in more danger. Just because she left Rome didn’t mean she was out of danger.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little travelogue, and I hope you’ll read my book and that it will take you away to exotic places. I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted through my website:

Here’s the buy link for Murder, Mi Amore:

Here’s the link to the video, which is very sexy:

Also, look for my werewolf paranormal romance, Cursed Mates, released December 13, 2010, from Noble Romance Publishing. That story is set in Maine, a place I’ve visited and loved. I used my visit to Maine to describe some settings in the story. But I didn’t meet any werewolves or demons while there.

Buy link for Cursed Mates:

Video link for Cursed Mates:

My cousin Luciana’s travel site:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome 2011

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had an awesome holiday. Mine was good despite having a sinus infection between Christmas and New Years. Looking on the bright side, I got some much needed rest, read a book, watched several new movies and actually lost a few pounds instead of gaining them.

So have you made your New Year's resoluations? I haven't. I'm giving them some thought and hope to narrow them down this week. I made 8 out of 10 goals last year, which I'm really excited about. At the end of 2011, I would to say I've made all my goals. In fact, I'd like to say I surpassed them, so I'm going to take a few more days to think about them and how I'll approach achieving them.

Planning on how to achieve them is important. Do you know how daunting it sounds to say I'm going to write a book this year? But if you say, I'm going to write a book this year and this is how I plan to do it, in steps, fifty pages a month. It doesn't sound so intimidating, does it? Fifty pages is doable, right? I think so.

So take a moment or two and make a plan to make the goals you're setting.

Have a great day and stop back. Besides reading my notes, you can connect with some great authors on my Friday Friends posts. I have wonderful guests lined up starting this Friday, January 7th with Cara Marsi. You will love her. I promise. WINK.